A lot has happened in that time, from the massive protests in 2019 to the Agreement for Social Peace-which included a call for a referendum to reform the Constitution, and finally, the change of government following Gabriel Boric’s victory in the presidential election.
Against this backdrop, Chile faces a historic election that, should it be approved, could have profound implications for the country’s future. Polls, however, point to a rejection of the text.
The new Constitution up for a vote contains numerous changes, updates, and also continuities with the previous text, intended to address the social tensions in Chile that led to the protests known as the “social explosion” and the decades-long debate over the influence of the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, who ruled the country from 1973 to 1990.
Its first article states, “Chile is a social and democratic state under the rule of law. It is multinational, intercultural, regional, and ecological.” You can read more about the ten pillars of the project here.
How will Chile vote this Sunday, Sept. 4?
According to the Chilean Electoral Service (Servel), this constitutional referendum is the final stage of the process initiated in 2020, when another national referendum was held to decide whether or not to form a constitutional convention to amend Chile’s current political Constitution, adopted in 1980 during the Pinochet dictatorship – the vote was won with 78% in favor.
Specifically, on Sunday, Sept. 4, Chileans will be called upon to vote on whether to accept or reject the draft of the Constitution prepared by the Constitutional Convention, which could become Chile’s new official Constitution.
Is voting compulsory?
Unlike Chile’s presidential and legislative elections, in which voting is optional, participation in this referendum – also called “de Salida” because it takes place at the end of the process – is mandatory for all persons with an electoral domicile in the country, and fines are imposed on those who do not show up to vote.
The final electoral roll can be viewed here. According to Servel, there are 15,173,857 eligible voters out of a total population of nearly 20 million.
What will voters be asked?
The referendum asks the following question on the ballot: “Do you agree with the text of the new Constitution proposed by the Constitutional Convention?
The possible answers are “I agree” or “I disagree,” which are listed on the ballot itself under the question so voters can make their choice.
What are the next steps?
At midnight on Thursday, Sept. 1, the election propaganda phase will end, Servel said, and from the first hour of Sept. 2, demonstrations or public gatherings of an electoral nature will be prohibited.
On Sunday, Sept. 4, the national referendum will be held based on Article 142 of the current Constitution and Decree 2078 of 2022. Voting hours in Chile are from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (local and ET time).
Preliminary and final results will be posted on the Servel website on Sept. 4, as soon as they are available after the polls close.
By Oct. 7, the Chilean President and Congress should be informed of the final and official results of the national referendum.
What happens if the text is approved?
The text produced by the Constitutional Convention becomes Chile’s new Constitution and abrogates the current Constitution. It can be the subject of future reforms.
What happens if the text is rejected?
The current text remains in force if the draft produced by the Constitutional Convention is rejected in the referendum.
What do the polls say?
According to a poll by the consulting firm Cadem, 46% of voters favor “Reject,” 38% favor “Agree,” and 16% are undecided. If this trend continues, Cadem estimates that 55% would reject the constitutional text and 45% would approve it on Sept. 4.
The survey was conducted between August 10 and 12 with a sample of 1,015 cases. The margin of error is +/- 3%, with a reliability of 95%.
On the other hand, a survey conducted by the consulting firm Activa showed that 44.4% were in favor of “reject” and 33.9% in favor of “approve”, while 15.9% were undecided, 3.1% did not cast a vote, and 2.7% did not plan to vote.
Activa’s projections indicate an outcome in which 56.7% of voters would vote “reject,” and 43.3% would vote “agree.”
Activa also projects that between 60.9% and 67.3% of voters will go to the polls on Sept. 4, representing between 9,181,663 and 10,146,567 voters, for a turnout of just over 15 million.
In this case, the poll was also conducted between August 10 and 12 with 1,514 online interviews and had a margin of error of +/- 2.5% and a reliability of 95%.
With information from CNN en español